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PhD position: "Remote sensing of saltmarsh dynamics"

  • Yerseke, Zeeland, Netherlands
Estuarine & Delta Systems (EDS)

Job description

The Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems research of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate to study saltmarsh dynamics in the Wadden Sea using remote sensing (position for 4 years).


NIOZ is the national oceanographic institute of the Netherlands. Its principal mission is to perform academically excellent, multidisciplinary, fundamental and frontier-applied marine research and education addressing important scientific and societal questions pertaining to the functioning of oceans, seas and deltas. NIOZ advances fundamental understanding of marine systems, the way they change, the role they play in climate and biodiversity, and how they may provide sustainable solutions to society in the future. NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator for the scientific community in the Netherlands. In addition to its research and education, NIOZ supports marine-policy development within the national and international context.


The department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS) of NIOZ is based in Yerseke. We study how the interplay between biota, hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics and biochemistry shapes the estuarine, deltaic and coastal environments within the context of natural and human-induced environmental changes. Our department has a multidisciplinary approach that combines state-of-the-art biophysical, biochemical, ecological and physiological measurements and experiments with remote sensing and numerical modelling to create in-depth understanding of the processes that control estuarine and delta systems. One important focus for the department is how our research can create value for society.


Within a German-Dutch-Danish transdisciplinary project (SALTGARDEN), we aim to understand saltmarshes in the Wadden Sea and their response to complex pressures caused by human activities. The project will investigate the role of biodiverse and dynamic saltmarshes, and will develop sustainable strategies for management and policy. The interdisciplinary research team of engineers, ecologists and socio-economists will combine experiments, remote sensing and models to quantify and predict future salt marsh developments, including the impacts for society.

As part of this project, in this position, you will be using time-series of satellite and airborne remote sensing data, in combination with machine learning techniques, to map the lateral and vertical dynamics and the biodiversity of saltmarshes at the landscape scale across the Wadden Sea, and to assess, understand and predict the state and fate of saltmarshes under influence of human activities (including grazing, mowing, and drainage, as well as climate change and sea level rise). You will communicate your findings in (project) meetings, scientific articles and in a PhD thesis.

Job requirements


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with:

• an MSc degree in marine ecology, earth science, remote sensing or similar

• affinity with remote sensing, machine learning and programming

• affinity with saltmarshes

• an open, communicative and collaborative attitude

• good English oral and writing skills

The candidate will be based at NIOZ in Yerseke, in cooperation with University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology, and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), and with other institutes within the project.

NIOZ wants to be a transparent institute with a healthy working climate and an inclusive culture, where people from diverse backgrounds and gender bring their talents and further develop these talents. We aim for inclusive decision-making processes and expect our leadership to show visible commitment, awareness of bias, and cultural intelligence.


  • Employment of this full-time position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO-I, for a total duration of 4 years. You start with an appointment for the duration of 1 year and, after a positive evaluation in the 9th month (Go-No go), you will be extended to the full period of 4 years.
  • Salary compliant with scales for PhD candidate (OIOs) CAO-WVOI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes).
  • An appointment at NIOZ as a PhD candidate means working and learning simultaneously conform the NIOZ PhD policy.
  • 338 annualized holiday hours for a full-time 40-hour work week.
  • Pension scheme via ABP, 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.33%.
  • 2nd class public transportation travel is reimbursed 100%.
  • Employment benefits plan to exchange a portion of your salary for days off or vice versa, or can be used to purchase a bicycle with tax benefits.
  • We offer relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation. Yerseke is located on commuting distance from major cities such as Antwerpen, Breda, Bergen op Zoom and Middelburg.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. dr. Daphne van der Wal. For additional information about the procedure, please send an e-mail to

Closing date for this vacancy is June 30th. Interviews will be held at NIOZ Yerseke or online on July 12th. We aim for this project to start in November 2024.